Members of the military know that they receive education benefits for serving. However, many may not know what they are or where to take advantage of them.
Counselors at Fort Bragg’s Training and Education Center, Building 1-3571, at the corner of Knox and Randolph streets, want to get Soldiers and Families involved in their education.
“There is a lot here under this purview,” said Mike Brennan, Ph.D, education services officer, BTEC.
Servicemembers and their Family members are able to come to the education center and receive assistance filling out financial aid forms, college counseling and take college classes from one of the many on post colleges.
“There is just so much information,” said Brennan.
BTEC has college programs, the basic skills education program, and a full range of testing services, said Brennan. BTEC also has an apprenticeship program representative at the Soldier Support Center with the Department of Labor.
“Whatever they have for me to take advantage of, I’m going to take advantage of it,” said Jessica Taylor, a Fort Bragg Family member.
For those looking to find a college, BTEC offers on-site college classes with representatives from Campbell University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Excelsior College, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville Technical Community College, Methodist University and Webster University.
BTEC provides servicemembers and their Family members the ability to register for classes as well as attend classes provided by the colleges.
For those who need to access their online college, there is help.
“The library is available with 75 common access card-readable computers open to the Fort Bragg population,” said Brennan.
BTEC is available to all ID card holders.
Spouses of active-duty Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine servicemembers in pay grades E-1 through E-5, WO1 through CW2, or O-1 through O-2 can register for a My Career Advancement Account. This program is also available to spouses of activated Reserve members in the same pay grades.
MyCAA provides a maximum education benefit of $4,000 with an annual fiscal year cap of $2,000 to assist eligible military spouses who need professional credentials to meet their portable career goals. The program provides up to $2,000 a year and no more than $4,000 to be completed within a total of three years.
Spouses are encouraged to go to the MyCAA website, at https://aiportal.acc.af.mil/mycaa/default.aspx to learn more.
“If the spouse comes in and they want help determining their occupational and educational goals and determining career decision-making self-efficacy on how to ensure that the occupation choice is right for them, we will assist them,” said Brennan.
Active-duty servicemembers who are looking to further their education must go through their respective military service for tuition assistance.
“Each military service, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, has to provide their own TA, but we will take any person from a different military service who wants some counseling,” said Brennan.
The education center is not only available to benefit your college education, it is a place to go for your military career too.
“We provide professional development training to our staff and update the customer aids, making them available electronically and get them (customer aids) out there,” said Brennan.
For servicemembers or Family members not ready to jump into a large class, the education center offers a more personal atmosphere with much smaller class sizes.
“The average class size is 15 to 20 students,” said Brennan.
You don’t have to go miles away to get an education. You can get the same education at the colleges’ on-post site at the education center, said Brennan
“Being new to Bragg, I didn’t even know they offered so many on post college classes,” said Taylor.
While serving in the armed forces, it may benefit you to start taking college classes now on your Army TA before getting out and relying on your GI-Bill, said Brennan
“For those military members who have never attended college before, it’s a great opportunity to get their feet wet, which may spawn some other interest and assist them not only personally, but with their professional development,” said Brennan.
The education center also offers after-duty classes which may help working adults. Some classes in the volunteer education programs start as late as 7:15 p.m.
To learn more about the Bragg Training and Education Center Counseling Services go to http://www.bragg.army.mil/directorates/HR/Pages/ACES.aspx.